That’s the thing about personalised invitation cards. The epitome of real effort. My grandfather is still cool enough to do this sort of thing, even if, you know, he doesn’t quite know the name of the young woman beside me. Or such an example is common enough. You can’t expect the elderly to be superhuman too. Oh, but I do love him so. Charming and comely old man. Singapore’s No. 1 bowler back in the day, and with such a flying passion!
Anyways, no, this isn’t a Heston Blumenthal clone, or any cuisine of the sort. Japanese-inspired steakhouse right here.
That salad was a crisp concoction made by the Tangy Japanese Gods.
I was pretty scared to touch the carpaccio, which looked about 0.001mm thin and as delicate as my dad’s hairline. But I did anyway. It was still frightening on the tongue, as it close to evaporated once it hit the buds. Moist, a little bland, but the truffle made it boom with musk and sophistication.
The fried zucchini flower was a light break during the rage of courses that night. The batter was airy but separated a little too easily from the flower, and its thickness merged with the flower made it seem almost incongruous. But a joy all the same.
It’s easy to talk about meat, but the steamboat here was magical. Each chopstick slip of the red, raw stuff was a ticket to the most tender slivers of melt-on-your-tongue premium beef. Boiled in a soup which starts off tasteless but ends off sweet, reduced and wondrous. I can almost feel the bubbles tickling my throat. Dip it in the pastel orange-clad shabu shabu sauce, maybe a little more in the soup, add a hint of rice and off you go and enter another mental state altogether.
Porridge. I saw it on the menu and passed it as some filler idea. But then again, if it’s on this menu, it’s got to good, right?
Right. And I was. No really I swear. It’s the best savoury porridge you will try in your lifetime. There’s writing your will and then there’s coming here to have just one bowl of this. As they say here, it truly is shiok. Nourishing, warm, glutinous. The consistency of a wilted lemon curd, with soft, popping granules throughout, and healthy dollops of tender mushroom, shallots, garlic and chives. I need to stop here because my mouth is watering. Also, because I’m rather angry at myself for having the smallest stomach in the world, so by this time during the meal I could finish a paltry fraction of that small bowl.
I don’t like mochi on its own, but the little translucent cuboids here were paired with a sticky, gooey gula melaka to reinforce its glutinous texture. The matcha and peanut dippings helped a fair bit, too. My favourite was that yuzu, which reminded me of white angels for some reason. I receive strange and non-sequitur connections whenever I’m faced with beautiful or delicious plates of food.
Before I babble, a few favourites and faraway-summer-dreaming.
Dungarees bring back memories of England. I’d slide in the buckle and feel all countryside yet proper. Rustic warmth in denim fibres.
To the point.
So you see, I’m always laughing on the inside.
When I see a girl or boy on the street trapped in a bubble. Of the latest trends or ways of communication. Of happiness and nonchalance. Of bits and bobs of life’s seemingly finest. Polka dots and stripes and all the huppdeedoo patterns in between.
Of course, who am I to judge. They’re probably just like me or far greater under all that. They feel obliged to present themselves in such a manner and perhaps I myself am trapped in a bubble of dissonance and lowly curtness. I, Alex, The Psychotic Observer of this peaceful and harmonious world (well sometimes, especially after the Boston fiasco. My prayers reside amongst their graves, together with those in the Middle East. We tend to talk heavy on a western bias when it comes to death, don’t we?)
No, these people are probably not blindly following trends for the sake of doing so; that girl with 5 inches of make up, bright pink stilettos and purple peplum top might just have earned a PhD in economics at Harvard university.
Same goes for that round and soft human being hanging around corners in a baggy shirt with peace sign logos and jodhpurs. On the other hand, someone who looks the most smart or put together may not necessarily be just as so on the inside. This might sound as stupid as saying a girl eating a croissant isn’t always French, but then again, sometimes circumstance and context throw me off board, together with a human sentience and empathy threshold. Really, it does, and sometimes I’m plain embarrassed by it. Every day I walk past people I don’t know personally and immediately fasten them into categories; categories they might not even belong in or which they only feel inclined to be a part of due to selection pressures in the Great Social Survival.
I recall walking around with my dad at the Botanic Gardens and coming across a meek old man with stiff and oily silver locks half covering thick spectacles, which in turn gave his small eyes a demeaning glaze. He stopped for a while to adjust his stained brown running shorts. Sweat made his translucent singlet fully transparent, with some bits clinging to rather unflattering areas.
‘Hey, Prof!’ Dad walked over to Brown Man. The latter held his ground, his stare thoughtful and a tad crazed, if I might.
So. Professor and lecturer at NUS (National University of Singapore). Taught my dad in the 80s and still going strong. I could literally feel an outpouring of speechless respect and unknowing adoration from this selfish and judgmental soul of mine.
There was a huge barbecue party at my house once, thanks to an abundance of leftover charcoal from the robust remains of last year’s soiree (newly stocked!) An olive-skinned, gangly woman in her 30s or 40s came in looking every part the look-at-me Caucasian socialite. Her perfectly manicured fingernails could have killed a tiger cub. That crotch-skimming dress reeled in all the looks. All this whilst I was on my second serving of homemade tiramisu, hair a straggly mess. When I greeted her and offered some champagne, I must’ve looked like I was sprouting algae.
But oh wait, she’s only a doctor with a professional background in the Art of Violin Playing.
I guess my assumptions are my mistakes. Lesson learnt.